Should Start Ups Use Interim Management?

Interim Managers are increasingly a well-known and accepted part of doing businesses. An established focuses on continuity – it hires for the skills it needs to keep running, and to grow in a slow and sustainable way. If it runs into a problem outside this context it may not have the institutional knowledge to face that problem successful. In cases like this Interim Managers make sense as a way to parachute that knowledge into the business, and help it pivot to face the crisis successfully, and even find opportunity in it to grow.

It’s less clear if start-up businesses can benefit from Interim skills in the same way. Start-ups are by nature more agile, more efficient, and less set in their ways than large and medium sized companies. That said, their small size means they have less collective experience, and are more likely to lack a broad base of general knowledge outside the specialist area they operate in. An IT start-up, for example, is well equipped to thrive in the face of an IT problem: they have the skills to develop new products to appeal to a new market or adapt existing ones to meet new requirements, but a change in business law that affects payroll or working hours could leave them confused. Start-ups are also less robust, lacking the funds and momentum of a big business that’s been running for ten years or more.

As Interim Managers work to set goals over short time periods, they make them ideal for a start-up that has a problem outside their capacity bearing down. They also tend to be older than the average age of the staff in a start-up company, so have valuable experience they can impart while they work with one. One of the most important things about working with an Interim Manager is that they can educate your team, leaving them with knowledge that will continue to add value to your company long after they have moved on.

As long as you have a set goal in mind, for example, securing a second round of funding or turning around a failing project, calling in an Interim Manager is a sensible measure. In the example of the IT company above, if they are trying to develop a new product that is running over budget and beyond its deadline, an Interim Manager will not only help to deliver the result without further delays but also leave processes behind them that should stop the same thing happening again.